Will it be four from four for Vincent Luis in Valencia?
Alistair Brownlee and Beth Potter in ITU World Cup action again
As well as IRONMAN Florida (full preview HERE), there will be further Pro racing this Saturday in Spain, at the Valencia ITU Triathlon World Cup.
The race will be broadcast live via www.TriathlonLIVE.tv.
ELITE WOMEN: 2:15pm CET / 1:15pm UK
ELITE MEN: 4:45pm CET / 3:45pm UK
For the men, what little there has been of the 2020 draft-legal season has been dominated by Vincent Luis. Winner in Hamburg of the late-notice World Championships (defending that title from 2019), he followed that up by topping the podium and Karlovy Vary and Arzachena and quite honestly, looked brilliant at every step.
That last race in Sardinia saw the top three filled by three members of the Bahrain Endurance 13 squad – Luis, Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR) and Alistair Brownlee – and all will meet again on Saturday. It’s a Sprint distance, pan-flat event this time (very different to that Arzachena course), but Luis in particular seems at home on any terrain right now.
With the partial announcement of the Tokyo Olympic team this week, this will be another chance for Alistair to stake his claim to join them. Despite some technical errors last time out, which I highlighted at the time, Brownlee had clearly stepped up his fitness and form over the draft-legal format in Italy, relative to Hamburg. Eliminating those errors and another few weeks of training could provide more evidence that his route back to an attempt at a third Olympic gold medal is a very realistic one.
It’s far from a three man field however, with IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion Gustav Iden (NOR), the fast-running feet of Jelle Geens (ESP), Commonwealth Champion Henri Schoeman (RSA) and former European Champion, Pierre Le Corre (FRA) all adding what might be considered unusual depth to a late season World Cup event. This however, has been no regular season.
James Teagle and Chris Perham will both have their first (and last) World Cup start of the season, alongside Alistair Brownlee in the British squad.
Given those names, by comparison, the Elite Women’s field doesn’t feature quite the same depth of World Triathlon Series talent – but in Nicola Spirig (SUI), an Olympic Gold and Silver medallist, you have one of the legends of the sport. With Challenge Daytona ahead of her (she was awarded a wildcard), Spirig will be fit and never races to make up the numbers.
Great Britain’s Beth Potter had what was perhaps her most impressive performance to date when finishing second to Flora Duffy in Sardinia last month. Given her limited cycling background in particular, that she achieved that over a very challenging terrain was a huge step forward in my eyes. With her undoubted pure running ability – she represented Great Britain over 10,000m at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games – she could well be relishing the flat and fast parcours this weekend.
Germany’s Lisa Tertsch is familiar with Valencia, winning the U23 European Championship there in 2019. She’s another speedy runner to look out for, particularly if she can limit her losses through the opening 750m in the water, while Verena Steinhauser (ITA) has improved every race this year – Hamburg (10th) / Karlovy Vary (8th) / Arzachena (3rd).